Things I Learned about Life So Far

After learning these lessons, the harder part is practicing them in real life. So this entry is more of a reminder for myself. With these in mind, I hope to become the mature, brave, and ethical person that I want to be.

1. It’s not about talent; it’s about bravery

When you’re young, you think that only the perfect is allowed to be successful. Then you discover Madonna, who sings terribly but is the queen of pop. You meet all sorts of “unremarkable” people in this life, and you think, “Why the hell are they allowed to sing?” But the real question is, “Why are you not allowing yourself to sing?”

These people became successful because they were brave. No matter what deficiencies they had, they faced the world and gave it their all. Talent is subjective and resonance is often inexplicable. Remember those guilty pleasures? Or how Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song became famous because it was so horrible? You can even find inspiration in the fact that Twilight has throngs of fans. If a bad writer can publish a book and live the life of a writer, then what are you afraid of? Why aren’t you writing?

Also, Shakespeare. During his time, the critics didn’t respect him because he dared to write in the vernacular, which they thought was completely stupid, but now Shakespeare is one of the most important writers in literature. Still, up to this day some people hate reading Shakespeare. All writers, no matter how great they are have critics. Heroes, no matter how brave they were had critics. Dictators, no matter how cruel they were had supporters. This is why success is unpredictable.

The thing is, you really just gotta do what you gotta do in life. It doesn’t matter if you become successful or not (but of course it’s nice if you become successful), but what matters is you did what you were meant to do.

I think there are more failures that happen because of fear as opposed to a lack of talent. If you start out as a crappy writer, at least you gain experience. With that experience, you’ll develop your skills, and when you finally become great, everyone will rewrite their memories and say, “Yeah, we knew she was always talented.”

Most of your mistakes will be forgotten because your “talentless” days are de facto unmemorable, so they won’t be important in the long run. Going back to Madonna, her voice did mature in time. Ok she’s not the greatest singer, but her voice did get a little better. Maybe Stephenie Meyer and Rebecca Black will get better too. What’s important is they were brave. So go be naive, go be ignorant of how talentless you are and make your dreams happen.

2. Making friends is fun

Back when I was a debater in high school and college, we were often encouraged to smooch with the judges and other debaters, so that we’d have a higher chance of winning. I didn’t do such a thing. I was proud. I wanted to be judged by my merits not by my social-climbing skills.

Having this kind of principle is great, but it didn’t help my career, and I also missed out on the great opportunity of connecting with people. At the end of my debate career, one of my debater friends said, “I don’t understand why people don’t like socializing. Making friends is fun.” Then I realized that my perspective on this whole socializing thing was wrong. Insincere smooching and being plastic are things I don’t approve of, but who said that socializing automatically meant forming shallow relationships? Even a short conversation with a stranger can be informative, interesting, or even life changing. I should have viewed socializing as an opportunity to meet interesting people and learn from them. If other perks follow, then that’s cool too.

3. Connecting with people leads to opportunities

Nepotism is wrong. When a person gets a leg up because he or she is friends with someone important, it feels unfair. Another way of looking at it though is that opportunity spreads among friends because information is diffused in an imperfect manner. (This is something that I learned in a TED talk, I forgot which one exactly).

So maybe it’s time to stop being bitter about my unprivileged social circle, and start expanding my group of friends.

4. Synergize with people with the right mindset

Intellectual snobs and all the other people who’ll only talk to you when you’re important are the worst, but now I’ve found another way to think about them. I’ve recently been more wary about the people I let in my life. Letting go of crazy-makers is hard but necessary. Maybe the snobs don’t want to let the wrong people in their life like the way I want to get rid of of the people with dementor personalities.

From now on, I must have the right mindset of success. I must project myself as a happy, confident, and intelligent person, and I will attract people who have the same mindset.

I guess I have a lot of realizations about socializing in this entry. I really want to see socializing in a more positive light, and I hope I open myself up to people and have richer experiences because of this.

5. Love is about connection

The first time I got rejected by a guy I loved, I felt really bad about myself, but then I realized that people reject you not because there’s something wrong with you but because there wasn’t a connection.

This helped me through the dissolution of my first non-relationship relationship. It was hard because I thought he liked me, but I got to deal with it better because I didn’t blame myself. We just didn’t have a connection. End of story.

6. Maturity comes with quality experience

When I was a kid, I thought that maturity came with age. I thought that after living for a certain number of years, individuals would inevitably and automatically become mature.

Now that I’m older and I’m meeting lots of immature adults, I realized that I was wrong. I asked my mom about this and she said that people have different kinds of experiences, and if you don’t have quality experiences, they won’t help you mature. That is why I want to seek those kinds of experience. I want to be mature. I don’t want to be 30 and pathetic. I don’t just want to be a successful person. I want to be a person who has strong principles, good judgement, and a steady temperament.

7. Stand up to people and constructively express criticisms

It’s funny that I’m a debater, and that I can defend ideas and issues, but I can’t defend myself. I don’t know how to tell people I’m angry, or they irritate me, or they’re wrong, but I know I have to learn this. I just can’t get trampled upon. I have to learn how to assert myself.

8. You have to be more proactive

One of the things I’m learning is I lack foresight. I have to anticipate needs, and I have to learn to ask questions. I have to take control of my life.

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Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.

All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations. 


2 thoughts on “Things I Learned about Life So Far

  1. Great Post! I would like to comment this time on # 7, Stand up to people and constructively express criticisms. It has been my observation that it is part of the culture in the Philippines to just roll with the flow, even when disagreeing with something. Such as accepting the wrong order of food in a restaurant or not voicing displeasure in public about poor service.

    On the other extreme, some Americans in the Philippines are quick to voice their criticism and sometimes, they go overboard. Scolding a waiter or waitress in public for a mistake the cook or chef made is not cool, in my opinion. I would not scold a wait staff in public but I would reflect my unhappiness with the amount of the tip if I was not happy with the actual table service.If the service was good but the food was poor, I would not penalize the wait staff.

    An American in Bacolod became irritated due to the long lines at the checkout counter in a local supermarket. He proceeded to pull out his blue colored passport and he waved it in the air. He then yelled, “I am an American and I demand another checkout register be open right now!” I really laughed when I saw that happen and then I got irritated with the guy’s behavior. No, another check out register was not opened for him.

    I think people from all cultures can complain politely without becoming obnoxious and I think we should, especially when we see or experience something terribly wrong. Just my opinion and others may differ.

    Have a great day!

    ~ Gary ~


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